Gopinath Munde

Ranjit Mahanti

BJP’s top leader Gopinath Munde’s supporters turned violent on the cremation ground on Wednesday demanding CBI inquiry of the death of their beloved leader.

Munde, 64, Union Rural Development Minister, was killed in a road accident in Delhi on Tuesday while he was on way to Parli for a felicitation following his own and BJP’s resounding victory in Lok Sabha elections, which saw him re-elected for a second time from Beed.

Roars of “Gopinath Munde amar rahe” and “Munde Saheb parat ya (Munde Sir, come again)” went up at the departed leader’s home town in the backward Marathwada region.

The cremation ground soon turned into a battleground. Munde’s supporters hurl stones on minister’s vehicles demanding CBI inquiry.

They torched a car and blocked the vehicles of Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and some other ministers. Chavan seated in his car as protesters angrily thumped the bonnet with fists, forcing the police to cane-charge.

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, who was present at the funeral, supported the demand for a CBI probe.

“The sentiments of the (party) workers should be respected,” Uddhav said.

Leaders, including union minister Prakash Javadekar and Munde’s eldest daughter and legislator Pankaja fervently appealed on the microphone to the crowds to remain calm as people could be seen thumping their chests and heads.

Daughter performs last rites

Munde’s daughter and MLA Pankaja Munde-Palve perform last rites of her father.

Pankaja’s action was being symbolic and it sent positive signals in the Marathwada region which has been regularly in the news for incidents of female foeticide.

The government had decided to accord a state funeral to Munde and after the formalities were completed, his daughter Pankaja lit the funeral pyre of her father.

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